Draftee Chet Mandaville
|No. 11 – Arizona Demons|
|Species||Northwestern Wolf ( Canidae )|
|The Primal Beast|
March 19, 2003|
Charles City, IA
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||230 lb (104 kg)|
|FBA draft||2022 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the Arizona Demons|
|Pro playing career||2022–present|
|2022 - present||Arizona Demons|
|Career highlights and awards|
|2023 Salary||$4 million|
|2024 Salary||$4 million|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
This article has been written to the precise liking of Mr. Chester Mandaville. Any additional opinions or remarks made by the journalist or members of the interviewing party should not be taken as fact and should be thoroughly researched to form one’s own accurate opinion of Mr. Chester Mandaville’s abilities. This is the interview of Mr. Chester Mandaville, promising prospect of the 2022/2023 FBA draft class.
I was “summoned.” That’s how I knew he was… different.
The lad had done his researched years ago and knew he wanted me and my team to be the one to announce him to the world. To this day I am unsure as to why. Perhaps I had nothing to my name, nothing to fluff, nothing to lose? In fact, I begged him to keep this part in alone to express my own individuality. This will be the last you’ll read of me and my… achievements.
“Sit,” he told me. We were in Ancient Grounds, a lovely coffee shop that had rooms that stretched off in many different directions. Some rooms felt so isolated, it’d be perfect for conducting such an interview.
He sat in an overly large deep blue armchair, waiting for myself and my assistant. There were three cups of coffee on the table in front of him, black, and a single wooden chair across from him. It was old and rocked from one off-kilter leg. This was the chair I was meant to sit in.
I held out my paw to shake his and began to exchange pleasantries. The smallest of smiles grew on his face for only a moment. And then he spoke.
“To business, shall we?” he spoke into his mug, swirling it, not even phased by what this moment could mean for him.
“Yes! Mr. Mandaville,” I started with an upbeat voice. He smiled. And it shook me.
“First thing’s first,” he said softly. “Yes. My name is Chester Mandaville. I grew up with my mother and stepfather in Charles City, Iowa. And yes, that is ‘Mandaville,’ as in ‘I am related to Charles Mandaville, general manager of the Huntsville Mayors.’ And if you call me Mr. Mandaville again, or bring up that man’s name during this, or any other interview, you will learn how ruthless my lawyers can be.” A speech I was both afraid to hear in person, and even more afraid to quote incorrectly in this article.
With the boundaries firmly set, the interview went… smoothly. Chester had outright skipped college to join the Hartford Garnets of the D-League after high school, stating the college was merely a place for people to “figure it out,” whereas he knew precisely what he wanted by the time he was a 10-year-old pup. I asked him “why basketball,” and his answer was accompanied by a shocking performance.
His paws laid flat on his lap and his chest rose and fell with a deep, yet confident breath. “This is why I chose you,” he started. “You are the one who will announce the true Chester Mandaville.” His arms rose theatrically as he spoke and kept on rising up to his left ear. He unfastened some kind of prosthetic, revealing a huge chunk that was missing from that ear. He continued down the side of his face removing patches of faux fur, down and past his left eye, unmasking a wide scar. And then. He removed a single contact lens from his left eye. It looked hazy and off. This secret…
“I am legally blind in my left eye. The rest is just for show,” he snarked.
“That’s impossible,” my assistant spoke out. “How do you play a game like basketball without depth perception. Is this some sort of stunt?” I tried to calm her, but she feared both her and my reputations would be on the line were we to print such “nonsense.”
Chester laughed. I could hardly see what was so funny. Despite me possibly losing the interview of a lifetime, I was more inclined to err on the side of caution like my avian friend beside me.
“You sound positively… civilized.” As though this were an insult, both my assistant and I flinched at his words. “What are we?” he whispered, each syllable caressing our ears in ways that felt… long forgotten. As though it was awakening something deep inside that we have all pushed aside.
“Citizens?” my assistant attempted to answer.
“An-i-mals!” his whispered voice carried. “We have just simply forgotten. Infants play to learn how to survive. But we live in a society where that no longer plays a major role in our lives. But as grown adults on a court, with something to fight for, something to play for, something to win for… you’d be a fool to ignore what you are.”
“Sounds downright primitive to me,” my assistant proclaimed.
“Exactly!” he cheered. “Have you ever heard when someone loses a sense, the others heighten? What do you see when you look at me?” My assistant and I exchanged glances.
“A wolf?” I asked, unsure if I should have even answered.
“Precisely. I lost this eye at a very young age. It was a ‘handicap,’ a ticket for those to pity me. And I hated it. I cursed it, begged for some sort of end to it all. My stepfather was the one to give me the ball. And I cursed it, too…! But I kept it. Like my blindness, basketball wasn’t going away. So, I kept it. I stared at it, cursing it from across my room… until I DECIDED… to Pick. It. Up. This cursed thing, this ruiner of lives… sat perfectly in my paw… And then I felt it. Some may call it determination. Some call it stubbornness. But I believe it was much more… primitive.”
“That is… fascinating, Mr. Chester! But I have to ask: if you’ve always had this… um eye… how did you overcome?” I’m surprised my voice didn’t crack as I spoke.
“By waking the fuck up,” he simply replied. “You know what doesn’t change in basketball?” I shrugged. “Basketball,” he answered. “The hoop always stands precisely where it needs to be, no matter the professional court. The three-point line, free-throw line, the height of the rim, the shape of the court, it never changes so long as you stand on a standard FBA court. If I stand at the free-throw line, I know exactly how much power I need. If I am standing 40° from the center, 2 inches off the three-point line, I know exactly how much power I need.”
“But basketball does change!” I stood up. “The players change! Strategies, lineups, teammates! You can’t always predict that!”
“What do you see when you see me?” he asked me once more. “When I play, I’m not the civilized Chester before you. I am a wolf. And a wolf who plays to his strengths. On that court, I fight to survive. I will always have enemies on that court, those who wish to tear me apart, and take from me what I’m fighting for. Let me ask you something: have you ever tried to do something with your eyes closed? Can you imagine playing basketball as such?” I shook my head.
“I play low to the ground. I feel the air around me, the subtle movements of my fur as others move past. I hear the squeaking and scratching of paws and claws on the polished wood. The sweat and the grunts of the failed attempts at a basket or steal. I move as though every swipe, every attempt to stop me from getting that ball where it needs to be, is an attempt against my life, because dear friend… it is.”
I was shocked to say the least by the vigor of his words. He sat back and waved his paw at me. “You’ve done your research,” he quizzed. “This is why I put everything into my playing. This is why I skipped college and went straight to the D-League. This is why I was named MVP of the PADZ Slam Dunk charity game of Iowa in 2019, why I’m decorated with a whole host of awards as a mere highschooler, and why the Hartford Garnets took the championship this year. You may take what I’m saying to be ludicrous, but it takes a crazed mind to break free from this box we’ve contained ourselves in. You see a half-blind boy when you should be seeing a primal beast.”
As stunned as I was there no denying the boy spoke truth. Now that he’d mentioned it, the way that wolf played did remind me of something more primal. He was a close-to-the-net player, dodging and weaving through what would always seem like an unstoppable wall of defense. When he had the ball, he kept it. His free-throw record was immaculate, and he drew fouls from his opponents as easily as you or I draw breath. His size, shoulder width, his speed, it all emphasized this beast he was telling us about. And after hearing his words, I saw it. But with strengths, there are undoubtedly weaknesses. And I had questions.
“When you’re in this… primal state,” I began. “What stops you from going too far?”
“What he is trying to say is what are you doing about your personal foul record,” my assistant clarified. “It’s not terrible but it’s far from perfect.” Chester laughed.
“I’d be a fool to say I’m a perfect player. Playing more primal does have its drawbacks. I am aware that my personal fouls need work. In fact, I’m also aware that I’m more of a close-up player than one that stands on the arch, but that’s where the team fills in, the pack. You let me do my job and I’ll get you what you want. Of course, ‘my job’ also includes improving myself. But if you want someone who’ll start from scratch, then you’re wasting everyone’s time. Build upon my foundation, and you’ll see the world the way I do.”
Inquisitively I asked, “like an animal?”
“No,” he chuckled. “Like a winner.”